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New York mayor-elect vows to rebuild trust between police, New Yorkers

Mayor-elect Eric Adams outlines goals for public safety, post-pandemic recovery

Betul Yuruk   | 19.11.2021
New York mayor-elect vows to rebuild trust between police, New Yorkers Mayor of New York City Eric Adams speaks during an interview with Anadolu Agency in Manhattan, New York, United States on November 18, 2021. It is the first-ever interview with international media after his election victory. ( Yasin Öztürk - Anadolu Agency )

NEW YORK

New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams said it is imperative to rebuild trust between police officers and New Yorkers, which he said has been broken for years.

"The only way we can revive that is to be honest about that," said Adams in an interview with Anadolu Agency in Manhattan on Thursday. It is the first-ever interview with international media after his election victory.

Adams served at the New York City Police Department for 22 years. As a former police captain, the mayor-elect said he knows what it is to wear a police uniform and to wear bulletproof vests and protect children and families.

In his remarks, the mayor-elect said his priority is to work with police officers for public safety across the city.

"Number one, I'm going to have the backs of my police officers. I'm going to give them the support to do their jobs and allow them to carry out public safety aspects of keeping our city at a level of safety," said Adams.

He will tell police officers to "carry out the role of law enforcement with the nobility that it deserved".

Adams also said he would take action against "overly abusive" police officers.

During his campaign in May for the mayoral race, the mayor-elect vowed to get rid of "abusive" police officers within three months of an incident if he becomes mayor.

"We cannot allow officers who are overly abusive to stay in the police department. They will be removed and we will have a department that lives up to its name of being the finest because I believe it is the finest," he told Anadolu Agency.

Adams, a Democrat, won New York City's mayoral election on Nov. 2. The 61-year-old will take office on Jan. 1.

Recovery in post-COVID-19

Responding to a question about how to revive the city in a post-pandemic era, the mayor-elect outlined three goals for a "healthy" recovery.

"COVID-19 decimated our financial institutions," said Adams, recalling that many people are still out of work, and many small businesses are closed.

He said New York City will show resiliency while getting back to normalcy. “We want people to participate in the vaccine process and get the vaccination. The virus is a potent enemy and the vaccine is a strong counterbalance to that enemy," said the mayor-elect.

"Second, we need to get employees back into office spaces," he said. "And then lastly, we must be safe. The prerequisite to the prosperity of our city is public safety."

"So we want to make sure that the city continues to be a safe city so that people can come here to raise healthy children and families," he added.

New York City was once the epicenter of the pandemic and now the city is reopening. Currently, it has 1.1 million reported cases and is a very high risk for unvaccinated people, according to New York Times.

'Friend of Turkish people'

The mayor-elect also spoke about the Turkish American community in the city, calling them "great contributors to our economy".

"I'm a friend of the Turkish people here and abroad. I have a large Turkish population that lives in Brooklyn, probably one of the largest in our country," said Adams.

"We are going to put together delegations that would involve business leaders to look at how to do business here in New York and how we can do business in Turkey," he added.

In terms of cross-cultural relationships, the mayor-elect said he will ask young Americans to visit places like Istanbul and Cappadocia, and other places in Turkey "as we bring young Turkish students here to New York to enjoy the rich culture here as well."

Adams has been in Turkey six times and said he looks forward to traveling more.

He said Turkish people "have had an excellent ability to maintain the history as well as an extremely modern city.”

"And it's that combination that draws you into understanding how Turkey has played a major role in shaping mankind and continues to do so in shaping the future," he added.

Bitcoin expansion

Adams said he is also seeking to expand Bitcoin in New York City, adding the move is a signal that the city is ready for innovations.

Adams said he was in an impoverished area of the city while talking about taking his first three paychecks in cryptocurrency. It is his first-ever interview with international media after his election victory.

"A young man came up to me and stated 'Can I also buy something in cryptocurrency?.' I smiled when I heard that. Because we hear we had a multi-billion dollar industry and young people in impoverished areas of the city were not aware of it," said the mayor-elect.

Adams, a Democrat, won New York City's mayoral election on Nov. 2. The 61-year-old will take office on Jan. 1.

Days after his election victory, the former police captain vowed to take his first three paychecks in Bitcoin as he pushes to ensure that the city remains the global financial capital.

"In New York, we always go big, so I’m going to take my first THREE paychecks in Bitcoin when I become mayor," Adams said on Twitter on Nov. 5. "NYC is going to be the center of the cryptocurrency industry and other fast-growing, innovative industries! Just wait!"

In his remarks to Anadolu Agency, Adams called on New Yorkers not to be afraid of change and science, saying innovation is not going to wait for comfort and it is going to continue to evolve.

"We must start to put things in the universe verbally so that people that are on the outskirts of our prosperity can now see what's possible. And so I look forward to expanding a blockchain and Bitcoin in our city to look at how we can properly regulate it ... to say to New York is let's not be afraid of change. Let's not be afraid of science," he added.

As the next mayor of the city, Adams said he wants to be at the forefront and lead the evolution.

* Servet Gunerigok in Washington contributed to the story

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